Home > Uncategorized > Kosovo: U.S., NATO, Ex-KLA Troops Drill For Anti-Serb “Crowd Control”

Kosovo: U.S., NATO, Ex-KLA Troops Drill For Anti-Serb “Crowd Control”

United States European Command
October 24, 2013

525 BfSB and multinational soldiers test readiness at Silver Saber
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Cody Harding 4th Public Affairs Detachment

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CAMP VRELO, Kosovo: U.S. soldiers from Company C, 1st Squadron, 38th Cavalry Regiment, quickly unload their helicopters and with shields and batons in hand, rush towards their staging area.

Just up the road, members from the Kosovo Police and the European Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX) are attempting to calm a growing group of demonstrators. The crowd is becoming increasingly violent and EULEX’s capabilities to disperse the crowd are quickly exceeded.

To help control the escalating situation, EULEX requests assistance from Kosovo Forces and the U.S. soldiers waiting up the road quickly move forward to conduct a relief-in-place with their EULEX counterparts.

Thankfully, the demonstrators here are simply role-players for a training exercise called Silver Saber held at Camp Vrelo Oct. 16. Members from the Kosovo Police, EULEX and KFOR took part in the three-day exercise to help improve the coordination between the different security elements in Kosovo and to test their crowd and riot control capabilities.

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The soldiers from the 525th Battlefield Surveillance Brigade make up part of KFOR’s Multinational Battle Group-East: a multinational task force made up of soldiers from nine different countries as well as National Guardsmen from five states.

Silver Saber brought a number of these KFOR soldiers together with their Kosovo Police and EULEX counterparts to train on crowd and riot control, relieving a multinational unit currently engaged in CRC, breaching various obstacles and medically evacuating a casualty.

U.S. Army Col. David Woods, the MNBG-E and 525th BfSB commander, said this exercise was important because it gave KFOR, who operates as a third responder, the opportunity to work with the other security elements in Kosovo.

“We [KFOR] are in a role as a third responder – and that’s not typical for us,” said Woods, a Denbo, Pa., native. “We are typically the lead and that’s hard for us sometimes to wrap our heads around.”

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U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Robert Musil, the noncommisioned officer in charge for Detachment 3, Company C, 1st Squadron, 38th Cavalry Regiment, said another challenge the U.S. soldiers faced was their inexperience in performing CRC as a part of peace support operations.

“Nine months ago, none of us had done anything like this [CRC] before,” said Musil, a Chicago native. “We’re traditionally a light infantry or recon element, so CRC isn’t something we’re used to.”

To help learn escalation the soldiers from the 525th BfSB leveraged the experience and expertise of their multinational partners.

The 525th BfSB soldiers hit the halfway point for their deployment right before Silver Saber, and Woods said he has seen a considerable amount of development within the battle group.

“Our formation has grown significantly,” said Woods. “I’m confident that we are more than prepared and resourced to deal with any circumstance or any situation that presents itself in Kosovo.”

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